U of Phoenix Eliminating 8% of Its Employees

The University of Phoenix has announced that it is eliminating the positions of 470 of its 6,000 employees as part of its “five-year transition plan.”

What follows is the letter sent by University of Phoenix president Timothy P. Slottow to the “company leaders”:


Dear Colleagues,

As ever, I want to thank you for your enthusiasm around and belief in our vision, our University’s five-year plan for transformation, as well as for your willingness to actively engage in honest, straight-forward conversations about the future of the institution. During our transformation to a more-trusted, more-focused, higher-retaining and less-complex university, holding conversations among your teams—and with your managers and front line staff—is more important than ever. Those talks help us build on our foundation, a culture of trust, honesty, transparency and compassion. Open conversation with your managers will improve engagement and help manage change in a way that keeps our students’ success as our top priority.

A significant workforce reduction was announced today in departments across the University. I support the decisions and am gratified by the planning that ensures a seamless student experience with minimal disruption. I am also grateful for the work of our Human Resources leaders to ensure our colleagues affected by the restructuring receive severance and outplacement services.

This difficult decision came after careful deliberation and analysis with a focus on streamlined workflow serving fewer students than in years past, improved use of technology and ultimately an approach that ensures our students have the transformative experience that leads to higher retention and improved learning outcomes. And while we cannot predict the future, it’s important to know that our five-year plan is constantly being reviewed and improved to ensure we offer quality degree programs at an affordable price and to ensure the long-term sustainability and viability of the University.

In the coming days, you will receive additional details from your managers, both in writing and in face-to-face meetings. As leaders yourselves, please take the time to engage with your direct reports and larger teams to answer their questions.

The time spent engaging in candid conversations is especially important as top leaders meet in Tucson later this week to evaluate progress made and identify areas for improvement as we strive to meet the University’s five objectives and implement the elements of our five-year strategic plan. At that summit, I will be taking questions from other leaders, explaining key performance indicators and metrics by which we will measure progress going forward, and evaluating specific accomplishments. The objectives for the Summit have been clearly articulated and you can expect to hear more from your leadership next week. They will take what they learn and report to you the current progress being made toward transforming the University into one more trusted, more focused, less complex and higher retaining.

As always, but especially during this time of transformation, our students deserve our very best attention and service, and we must constantly maintain open lines of communication. Thank you for all you do for our students. And thank you for your positive examples and dedication to our University.


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